At 6:30 in the morning it was bucketing down...but I got up anyway and started getting organised for the day. By the time the Vee and I were ready it hadn't rained in quite a while so I climbed aboard and went to round up Brian - yes, I was early...
Brian was soon ready to rock and we then headed off to meet the rest of the gang at a local servo. Soon there were eight of us on seven bikes and we then hit the road to make our way out to the beach. When we got there, we found that we were early among some of the first to arrive. A few spits of rain fell on us which encouraged us to go into the hall, sign up and get our badges.
|Someone should buy that bike..|
While we were waiting the chopper turned up and I got this shocking picture of it (a very rushed shot).
Eventually it was time for the ride briefing and then about 250 of us were off on our way to Foxton, crawling along behind a police escort. From Foxton it was another slow trip across to Shannon where Mark and I stuck to our usual plan of quickly topping up the bikes with fuel to avoid the chaos at Woodville.
The ride then took us up to Aokautere and then up over the track. On the downhill leg I caught up to a couple of old classic bikes and was impressed with how one in particular was being punted through the corners - the rider keeping his corner speed up and taking a pretty nice line through the twists and turns. A short sprint through Ballance (behind a nice 6 cylinder beemer) soon had us formed up for the slow crawl into Woodville as part of their Xmas Parade. Then it was time for our BBQ lunch.
After lunch we did our normal vanishing trick by leaving before the bunch. This helps keep us away from some of the squids that tend to come on this ride and gets us out to the beach in time to see all the bikes roll in.
The ride through to Makuri was a bit of a blast and I was able to park up for a few minutes and nab some pics of the guys going past.
|Mark chasing Brian down (and some unidentified rider on the wrong side of the road)|
In Pongaroa the guys went left while I went straight ahead to take in Coast Road and the great gravel out that way. Almost straight away I was held up by a mob of sheep on the road but was soon through them and then into the gravel. The road wasn't quite as fast as it usually is (a bit much gravel on it) but I still had a lot of fun on it but got very hot on what was now a very warm day. A coke at the beach was just the ticket.
After watching all the others roll in and head for the prize giving it was time for us to start our trip home. It was that hot that I opened up the big mesh panels in my jacket and pants...great idea...
Heading back I tucked in behind Mark and we settled into a quiet cruise. Just out of Weber we caught up with the rain and this dramatically improved the cooling provided by those mesh panels...
In Dannevirke we waited for Dan & Roscoe to fuel up and then took off on the last leg back to Ashhurst. Not far into we hit rain again and this time around I think we found all of it! It fair bucketed down, even causing the traffic to slow up so we could spend more time in it...
By Woodville the rain had decided to pick on someone else and we had a pretty nice cruise back into Ashhurst where we stopped for a cold drink before heading finally home.
A nice ride of around 380km in both good and bad weather but good to get that 15th badge.
More pics here.